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Recruiting rewind: A look at Alabama's biggest storylines from this week

Alabama wrapped up its season with a dominant victory in the Sugar Bowl and will now turn its attention to the offseason where it will be as busy as ever. After signing 28 players in this year’s class and receiving a commitment from Maryland transfer tight end C.J. Dippre, the Crimson Tide aims to continue its positive momentum into the new year by bolstering its ranks for the 2023 season and beyond.

Here are a few storylines from the past week.

Can Alabama add Cormani McClain to the class? 


Could Cormani McClain’s awkward interview during Tuesday’s Under Armor All-American Game be a positive sign for the Crimson Tide?

McClain, the top-rated cornerback and No. 3 overall player in this year’s class, committed to Miami on Oct. 27 of last year but did not sign with the Hurricanes during the opening of the early signing period last month.

During Tuesday’s Under Armor All-American Game, the five-star cornerback told ESPN that he remains committed to the Hurricanes and that he plans on signing on Jan. 15. However, the interview seemed to leave the door open for a possible flip.

When asked what would be the deciding factors on whether he sticks with his commitment, McClain responded, “come in, play as a freshman and whoever can develop me the best.” He was then asked which schools were in the running, causing him to flash an unsure smile.

“Miami,” McClain said, shaking his head. “That’s it.”

Despite McClain’s response, Miami doesn’t appear to be the only team in contention for his commitment as Alabama, Colorado and Florida are all serious contenders. The Crimson Tide is certainly going to continue to push to flip the five-star cornerback in the current week.

Wednesday, Alabama running back signee Richard Young, who also took part in the Under Armour All-American Game, did his part, hitting McClain with a recruiting pitch over Twitter.

Alabama has already signed five defensive backs in this year’s class, including five-stars Caleb Downs and Desmond Ricks as well as four-stars Jahlil Hurley, Brayson Hubbard and Tony Mitchell. However, the Crimson Tide certainly wouldn’t mind adding another top talent like McClain to its haul.

Tide in the mix for several top 2024 defensive backs 

Alabama signed five defesnvie backs in this year’s class, but that wont slow its pursuit of stocking up talent at the position for the future. The class of 2024 boasts a trio of strong prospects, and the Crimson Tide is in the running for all of them.

Florida native Charles Lester III took New Year’s Day as an opportunity to release his top five. Three SEC schools are in it — Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The other two schools featured are Florida State and Ohio State. The Crimson Tide offered Lester last January. The tall, athletic cornerback is No. 1 at his position and is a prized recruit for teams looking to give their 2024 recruiting classes a big defensive boost.

Fellow cornerback Ellis Robinson, who also hails from the Sunshine State, recently revealed a top five of his own. The third-ranked cornerback also has three SEC teams on his list. They are Alabama, Georgia and LSU. Miami and Colorado round out the list, with the Hurricanes being the only in-state squad for the IMG Academy star. Colorado has also emerged as a buzzworthy destination following the Buffs’ hire of former Jackson State coach Deion Sanders. Robinson has been to Tuscaloosa and the Crimson Tide is one of the favorites to land him.

Alabama has had recent success with players from Buford High School in Georgia, adding receiver Isaiah Bond and safety Jake Pope in 2021 while signing running back Justice Haynes in this year’s class. Now the Crimson Tide is looking to return to the well as it looks to reel in KJ Bolden, a versatile safety who has experience playing two ways and is the No. 3 player in Georgia for the 2024 class. Bolden has been to Alabama’s campus and included the Crimson Tide in his freshly-announced top 15. Among others, Alabama will compete with Georgia, LSU and Tennessee for his services.

Alabama signees perform well at UA All-American Game 

Here’s a look at how the Crimson Tide was represented at this year’s Under Armor All-American Game.

— Wide receiver Jalen Hale averaged five yards per reception and totaled three catches for 15 yards.

— Defensive end Jordan Renaud had five tackles and was one of the most prolific defensive players in the game.

— Running back Richard Young had 20 yards on seven carries and also tallied a five-yard reception.

— Offensive tackle Olaus Alinen had a strong showing, clearing the way in both the running and passing games.

— Safety Tony Mitchell, a Thompson High product, played on defense and in the return game and demonstrated good coverage.

— Cornerback Desmond Ricks had two unassisted tackles and four in total.

— Offensive tackle Miles McVay minimized pressure and contributed on a big scoring drive.

Alabama’s kicker of the future will learn from the best 

Will Reichard’s decision to return to Alabama for another season surprised some, as all signs pointed to the star kicker moving on to the NFL. However, Reichard is back, and that means newly-signed class of 2023 kicker Conor Talty will spend next season learning from the player he was expected to succeed. Talty has been committed to the Crimson Tide since the summer of 2022, and the Illinois native can punt too. With Reichard’s decision, fans will not be seeing as much of Talty in 2023 as expected, but now the prospect can pick up some invaluable tutelage from the incumbent.

Talty comes to the Crimson Tide as the No. 2 kicker, according to He has shown the ability to consistently hit field goals from 55 yards out and further and can also drive the ball more than 65 yards with a hangtime of over 4.0 seconds on kickoffs.

“I talked with him a little bit,” Reichard said of Talty following last weekend’s Sugar Bowl. “He’s been down on visits and stuff. I’ve never really seen him kick before, but I think he’ll be fantastic. We wouldn’t bring in anybody who isn’t any good. I think he’ll do really well.”

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